My name is Seema.
I am a third year Anthropology Major at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. I’ve been given the opportunity by the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI) and QEScholars to travel across the world and work alongside MSRI as an intern for 6 incredible months. At MSRI, I chose to work with the Education Manager, Andrea, as the Education Intern because of my love of working with children. The work I’ve done has been incredibly life changing.
From the first day, Andrea threw me into work. From updating the school’s curriculum, to filling in for missing teachers, to even attending fieldtrips and other events representing the school. Being thrown into positions where I had no other choice than to be a leader has helped build my confidence and leadership skills immensely. Andrea has been an amazing mentor from who I’ve learned invaluable professional and life skills.
The event titled “Alijah Gordon and the Children of Her Legacy” that took place on 18 November 2017 put my skills to the test. Andrea asked me to start planning an “Open Day” for the school kids from the first week I arrived. It later merged with a fundraising dinner the office was planning. The event took months to plan. We contacted different organizations for help in our fundraising efforts, created pamphlets for each of MSRI’s programs, and even designed standing boards outlining MSRI’s history and current programs. I oversaw the schools efforts, which was reflected in performances by the children, poster projects and dioramas, other decorations, and fair games. In the end, MSRI came together for an amazing children’s fair in the morning, and a lovely gala dinner in the evening. The best part was the success we had in raising money to continue to support the refugees of Malaysia.
I’ve gained a better understanding of the refugee crisis through working with MSRI. Before working with MSRI, I had a very shallow understanding of what refugees really go through, or the legal processes related to being an asylum seeker/refugee. By understanding the different stages of the casework of asylum seekers/refugees and their legal rights in Malaysia, I am better suited to help them through MSRI and after I leave MSRI. Reading the news online and in the paper does not have the same effect as working directly with the families and children. Creating personal connections with the schoolchildren and their parents motivates me to do my best work to help improve their lives through MSRI’s programs.
Overall, it has been incredibly rewarding to work directly with refugees and see the difference one person can make. MSRI inspired me to keep working to make a difference in the lives of others, even when I’m back home in Canada. I appreciate and look up to all the hardworking people at MSRI who make it an everyday goal to improve the lives of other people, and I feel honored that I could be a part of this organization.
– Seema, UVIC & CAPI Intern 2017